Business, management, entrepreneurship

Business Culture in Great Britain

Business Culture in Great Britain

The United Kingdom is an impressive powerhouse in the business world with London and New York controlling international finance. UK-based legal firms are outstandingly successful on a global scale, making them some of the most sought after for industries around the globe. Additionally, higher education has made Britain one of its leaders as it continues to be amongst largest and most competitive markets worldwide.

With Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, a new world awaits. While this presents an incredible opportunity for growth and development not previously seen in the country, there are still many hurdles ahead on its journey to solidifying trade partnerships outside of Europe as well as improving poor productivity levels across all industries. Will London be able to maintain its critical position at the forefront of global finance or will it succumb under increasing international competition? The answer remains unknown but one thing is certain - Brexit may usher forth drastic change within British borders that could irreversibly alter their societal landscape.

In the next ten years, uncertainty is on the horizon for how things will play out; yet despite this, Britain continues to be open and inviting when it comes to business. With an appetite for foreign companies taking advantage of its well-established market and a skilled labor force ready at hand, there are plenty of reasons why conducting trade in this nation could turn into success stories!

If you are considering doing business in the UK, you need to consider the cultural issues you are likely to encounter. Put simply, the British are quick to take offence. Your communication style might be viewed as aggressive, when you thought you were merely being helpfully direct or your negotiating style could appear confrontational when you thought you were offering useful alternatives. Study the UK approach to business in advance – it will pay dividends.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of business culture in the UK in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

Background to business

Business Structures

Management style




Women in business


Top tips

This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture. 

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Great Britain only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.

Industrialization has revolutionized the way that companies are structured and managed, supplying a more efficient system that grants uniformity throughout. Managers of these organizations have since become accustomed to performing tasks in similar ways as one another despite geographical differences, while modern manufacturing units are proving ever-more standardized with no thought spared for location.

Tayeb (1993) asserts that traditional societal culture shapes the business climate instead of treating industry, management and companies as universal entities to be approached in a single way. The European Union's attempt at creating a unified marketplace does not reflect cultural convergence so much as it demonstrates an evolutionary synergy between different countries' cultures -- even with the introduction of shared technologies and distribution methods, managers remain conscious of their distinct histories rather than assimilating into one 'Europeanized' model.

As a nation built on cultural diversity, it is no surprise that identifying standard characteristics of English managers can be incredibly difficult. Despite this challenge, various interventions have been made to uncover some indigenous attributes linked with their management style. Experts like Hofstede (1984) and Tayeb (1988) identified distinct elements driving the unique leadership methods employed by people from England - such as The Body Shop case demonstrating how these tendencies play out in real-world scenarios.